The Office of Public Affairs

The Public Affairs Office provides statistics, biographies, photos, background information, and other resources to media representatives reporting on the mission and ministries of The Episcopal Church

Julia Ayala Harris

Julia Ayala Harris, President of the House of Deputies
Julia Ayala Harris

Julia Ayala Harris was elected president of the House of Deputies by her peers in the House of Deputies at the 80th General Convention of The Episcopal Church in 2022. She is the first Latina and woman of color to hold the position. In The Episcopal Church, she has continually found healing, blessing, and wholeness in God’s unconditional love. Throughout her lay ministry, she has worked to bring about a church that can share that blessing with all of God’s people. 

Julia has more than two decades of experience working in the nonprofit sector, particularly with faith-based nonprofits, and holds a Master of Public Administration. Her work in the nonprofit sector spans multiple states, leading organizations and programs that provide transitional housing for homeless women and children, permanent supportive housing for people with disabilities, community and fine arts, alternatives to incarceration for pregnant women and mothers, and collaborative initiatives to close the digital divide. From 2005 to 2008, she was an international aid worker in Kenya and South Sudan with Church Ecumenical Action in Sudan, building the capacity of South Sudanese faith-based nonprofits and dioceses in grant writing and financial management, as well as program design and evaluation.

From her professional, familial, and personal experiences, she is passionate about a multitude of issues such as immigration, LGBTQ+ inclusion, empowerment of women and girls, criminal justice reform, race and ethnicity, disability inclusion and access, and sexual harassment and exploitation, as well as justice and peace initiatives.

Prior to her election as president of the House of Deputies, Julia served the church in multiple roles, including on the Executive Council as chair of the Joint Standing Committee for Mission Within The Episcopal Church; the Presiding Officers’ Working Group on Truth-Telling, Reckoning, and Healing; the Task Force for Women, Truth, and Reconciliation; various legislative committees and interim bodies; delegate to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (2015 and 2016); and delegate to the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches (2022).

Julia lives in the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma, where she is a doctoral student at the University of Oklahoma and a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Norman. She studies topics related to leadership identity (race, ethnicity, gender, etc.); public opinion of nonprofits and faith-based organizations; and congregational collaboration. Her husband is a professor at the University of Oklahoma, and her daughter is in high school. They love spending time in nature with their rescue dog, board games, music, documentaries, and all things Star Trek.